Five reasons you might need to change how you brush your teeth

Taking care of your teeth is never a one-and-done sort of thing. It's something you do upkeep on, and most people know the broad strokes of what you're supposed to do. Brush regularly, floss hopefully, and go to the dentist before an emergency happens. 

Pretty much everyone knows they should be brushing their teeth, but one-third of adults are actually brushing their teeth wrong. That doesn't mean they're using the wrong end of the toothbrush or anything like that. Your teeth need a lot of specific care to stay healthy. That's especially important because you're stuck with your smile for quite a while, whether they're white or not. Below are five of the top reasons you might not be brushing your teeth correctly. 

1. You may not be brushing often enough

A good rule of thumb for brushing is the two-for-two rule: twice a day for two minutes. And about 70% of adults actually do roughly that. However, it's also important to time when you're brushing relative to what you've been eating or doing. For example, if you've just chowed down on a big orange, avoid brushing your teeth for a little while after. That's because brushing your teeth right after eating acidic foods could be dangerous. 

That's not to say that oranges and toothpaste are natural-born enemies — the acid in citrus can break down your tooth enamel, and brushing right after could damage it. In general, you want to wait about 30 to 60 minutes after eating to brush your teeth. That puts you at less risk of damaging your enamel. And it's enough time for you to still enjoy your morning orange juice without risking the flavor mingling with toothpaste and starting your day off wrong. 

2. You might be making your toothbrush do all the work

Brushing your teeth is a great way to fight off tooth decay, but your toothbrush is just one of many tools at your disposal. Even if you're brushing twice a day for two minutes, there are likely still areas of your mouth you can't reach. That's why floss and mouthwash exist. There's a common myth that mouthwash can replace brushing, but that's just not true. Your toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash are all tools with different purposes, and none of them can do the job alone. 

If you can't brush, floss, and rinse twice a day, dentists tend to recommend at least doing it all once. Pull out all the stops at least once a day and give your teeth and gums every chance to stay clean and healthy. Ideally, you'd do that every time you brush your teeth, but building up a routine like that takes time. 

3. You might need to change how you brush

How you brush your teeth might be even more important than how often you do it. If you're not brushing your teeth correctly, it doesn't matter how many times you do it. One of the most common mistakes people make while brushing is only brushing back and forth. If you're only brushing at one angle, you're only cleaning one section of your teeth. The tops might be spotless, but the front and tongue-side could still use some love.

Brush at all angles and try to get full coverage on every part of your teeth. A circular brushing motion is excellent because it covers a broader area and at various angles. You also want to make sure to get your gum line. 

4. You may just need to brush for longer 

Sometimes the simplest solution is the correct one. For example, if you're brushing at different angles, flossing and rinsing, and brushing twice a day, but your teeth still don't look clean, you might need to brush a little longer regularly. As mentioned earlier, the rule of thumb is usually two-for-two or brushing twice a day for two minutes. You'll want to break that two minutes into regions of your mouth and make sure to use fluoride toothpaste. 

Two minutes is enough time to get all those hard-to-reach spots in the front and back of your teeth. If you've got spinach in your mouth, that should be enough time to brush it out and smile without fear that someone knows your lunch as well as you did. 

5. You might need a better toothbrush


Not every toothbrush is made equal. You've probably heard from your dentist that you need a specific type of toothbrush, usually soft, medium, or hard. They may also recommend an electric toothbrush that does a lot of the work for you. 

The AquaSonic Black Series Toothbrush is an easy answer to many of the most common ways people mess up brushing their teeth. For instance, if you don't know if you're brushing long enough, it has a 30-second timer that tells you when to move on to a new section of your mouth. After two minutes, the toothbrush automatically turns off, indicating that you're done. 

Rated 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon with over 47 thousand reviews, the Aquasonic has a few different modes that let you control the type of cleaning you're getting. Switch between whitening, massage, and cleaning modes and get all those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. The 40,000 VPM motor also does a great job dissolving stains. 

While this toothbrush can't make you brush more often or floss for you, it could be the first step toward getting a healthier mouth. And if you have a toothbrush that does a lot of the work for you, taking a moment to floss and rinse will be a lot easier. 

The best time to take control of your oral hygiene is yesterday. The second best time is now! 

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